So in the spirit of honesty, I think it would be foolish to pretend that these external factors didn’t affect my response to the film. How could they not? Cinema – and Hollywood cinema in particular – is fundamentally about gratification. He shows us things that mere descriptions and imaginations cannot do justice. And after the longest outage in the medium’s 125-year history, here’s the palooza gratification. Of course, it was particularly enjoyable.
My colleague Ben Lawrence wrote an excellent article the other week which suggested that our powers of discernment had been blunted by Covid – that our added need for comfort and companionship made us more willing to ignore the flaws in a work of art. I think he’s right, although I’m also not convinced that a version of reality is possible in which some sort of pristine, Covid-free objectivity is restored.
In an alternate timeline without a pandemic, even if every frame in A Quiet Place Part II had been the same, it would have been a completely different movie. Her story of a family having to live in isolation after having adapted very quickly to a global catastrophe would not have resonated in the same way. Her early scenes of noisy, carefree, pre-disaster social mix would not have carried the doom load they now carry.